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Ex-general to oversee referees

AROUND THE NBA

July 02, 2008|From the Associated Press

The NBA hired retired Army Maj. Gen. Ronald Johnson on Tuesday as senior vice president of referee operations, a newly created position to help strengthen the league's officiating programs following the Tim Donaghy scandal.

The move splits executive vice president of basketball operations Stu Jackson's role into two positions, a plan commissioner David Stern announced last fall. Johnson will oversee all aspects of officiating, and Jackson will continue to handle all other domestic and international basketball matters.

Johnson retired after 32 years as a combat engineer.

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The Sacramento Kings agreed to a five-year deal that could be worth $33 million to retain point guard Beno Udrih, according to ESPN.com.

Udrih, 25, averaged 12.8 points and 4.3 assists last season.

Meanwhile, in an e-mail to ESPN.com, Kings forward Ron Artest said he regrets not opting out of the final $7.4-million season of his contract by the Monday night deadline, adding, "I had some misleading information [in making the] decision on not opting out."

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Point guard Jose Calderon, 26, reached a "preliminary agreement" to remain with the Toronto Raptors.

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The Portland Trail Blazers reached an agreement to sign Rudy Fernandez, a 6-foot-6, 23-year-old guard who played the last seven seasons in the Spanish ACB League. . . . San Antonio Spurs guard Brent Barry, 36, opted out of his contract and is an unrestricted free agent. . . . Wynn Las Vegas said it is dropping a lawsuit against Alonzo Mourning's charity because it has been paid a $50,000 convention bill from the 2007 All-Star week.

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